Tenterfield Shire Council, New South Wales, signed a $1 million contract for drought funding initiatives on 20 December 2018 after a protracted application process that Mayor, Peter Petty has called extremely frustrating. Read more >
Goondiwindi Regional Council, Queensland, is doing its bit to lift the cone of silence on the unique problems faced by Australians living in rural communities.
Rural Aid Australia representative, Ms Jenny Jensen, has addressed Council about the work that the organisation does in the region and across Australia, highlighting its availability as
a year-round service.
Mayor, Graeme Scheu, said, “This service isn’t just for those experiencing drought or other natural challenges, but it’s about the daily struggles
of rural living.
“Whether you’re a property owner or an employee working on the land, there are resources available and we’re so lucky to have this service available in
The organisation partners with a variety of other groups to provide a range of services, including: the Buy a Bale fodder program; Farm Army, where volunteers help on farms; Farm Rescue, where tradies provide a mini makeover on farms; and most importantly on-farm counselling.
The counselling service helps people work through a range of financial and social pressures that can come from rural life.
Ms Jensen is from a farming background and, like her colleagues, can apply her professional counselling qualifications with a very practical knowledge of the issues that her clients may face.
The Green Triangle region of Victoria and South Australia has been labelled ‘biomass central’ by industry experts at a recent bioenergy seminar. Read more >
The first South Australian (SA) road built with soft plastics and glass at Happy Valley in the City of Onkaparinga has seen plastic from approximately 139,000 plastic bags and packaging and 39,750 glass bottle equivalents diverted from landfill. Read more >
By Rob Cook
The recent Corruption and Integrity in the NSW Public Sector<report prepared by the Independent Commission Against Corruption (ICAC) will likely attract lots of attention among local government procurement professionals.
While much of the report deals with abuses of government processes, it also contains many valuable lessons about probity – a key element in financial sustainability. After all, things need to be above board if any organisation is to survive scrutiny and function effectively over the long term.
The report probed activities in the New South Wales public sector and found some evidence of corrupt procurement processes, mostly traced to control failures. ICAC notes shortcomings ranging from buying goods and services that are not needed to conflicts of interest and flaws in tendering.
While some of these are blatant acts of fraud which are hard to detect, many can at least be identified and discouraged by rigorous procurement processes. Many proactive public sector organisations already use online toolsets to weed out some of the bad practices, attract the most bids and run robust competitive tenders, while electronic bid evaluation systems help ensure transparency and probity.
The risk of unvetted suppliers
Another significant finding is a lack of ‘robust systems for conducting due diligence on suppliers and other counterparties’.
This goes to the very heart of sustainability, since local governments need some assurance that their key suppliers will deliver what they promise.
The report noted that while most government agencies generally do a reasonable job of due diligence for larger tenders, ‘the standard of checking usually falls away (for smaller engagements)’. The danger here is that these unvetted suppliers can potentially chase more work, bigger orders and more income while they have government contracts - but still fly under the due diligence radar.
Another due diligence blind spot was identified among supply panels.
‘Organisations ... maintain panels of pre-approved suppliers but agencies should not assume all empanelled suppliers have been subjected to an exhaustive set of due diligence checks,’ the report warns.
At TenderLink, we have for some time been warning about the need for due diligence to ensure that selected suppliers are actually capable of delivering the goods and services they promise. And the more important the goods and services, the greater the need for a full understanding of the supplier's financial capability.
Keep a close watch
Procurement best practice, from a financial sustainability perspective, requires that vendors should be vetted before the contract is awarded. However, solvency is not static, and buyers need to ensure that their suppliers, especially those with large and strategic contracts, are monitored on an ongoing basis.
Financial sustainability requires transparency and probity, so that all stakeholders are comfortable with the validity of the procurement process. But it also requires close and ongoing scrutiny of vendors to ensure that they meet their contractual obligations and don't leave councils stranded when the going gets tough.
Rob Cook is Marketing Manager of TenderLink
(www.tenderlink.com), one of Australasia's
largest integrated web-based procurement solutions providers.
*Copy supplied by TenderLink